Get on Pink!

The breast is one of the parts of the body that is highly treasured by most females not just because it is a source of nature’s food to the ‘yet-to-be-conceived’ baby but they think it helps onlookers know how ‘matured’ they have become. Males as well as females possess this tissue that overlies the chest muscles. However, the women’s breasts (also known as the mammary glands) are made of specialized fatty tissues that produce milk.
Amongst several other diseases that affect the breast is the breast cancer. This is the cancer that develops from the tissues in the breast and is the most common form of cancer seen among females. This may not be unrelated to the fact that it commonly develops in the cells around the milk duct and in the lobules that supply the duct with milk. The area of the breast from which the cancer develops is responsible for its name, example -                                                                                                           
       ·         Ductal carcinomas are cancers that develop from cells lining the milk duct.
       ·        Lobular carcinomas are cancers that develop from glandular tissues called lobules that supply the duct with milk. Other forms of breast cancers exist.
Hormonal, lifestyle and environmental factors could increase the chances of having a breast cancer. These risk factors include use of tobacco, unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, alcohol use, inherited gene, beginning to menstruate at a younger age or beginning menopause at an older age, obesity, having first child at an older age and postmenopausal hormone therapy. Having one or more risk factors does not mean that one will develop breast cancer. Many women who develop breast cancer have no known risk factors beside the fact that they are women.
Breast cancer develops from a single normal cell through a multistage process into malignant tumors. According to the WHO, these changes occur as a result of the interactions between a person’s genetic factors and three categories of external agents which include:
      ·         Physical carcinogen such as ultraviolet rays.
    ·       Chemical carcinogens such as asbestos, components of tobacco smoke, arsenic (water contaminant) and aflatoxins (food contaminants).
     ·         Biological carcinogens such as infections from bacteria, virus, fungi or protozoa.
Treatment of breast cancer depends on the type and stage of the cancer. It may involve a breast surgery - removing the lump (lumpectomy) or breast (mastectomy), hormone therapy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or alternative medicine (this helps to cope with the pain).
Breast cancer like other cancers could be fatal. However, survival rates can be increased with early detection, accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. Effective pain relief and palliative care also plays an important role in survival as it helps to alleviate suffering.

By Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi

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